Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.
While strolling back from Cinnamon Square (the best place in Rickmansworth for a ristretto) last weekend Kathlene and I wandered into the local butcher in hope that this time they would have some Osso Buco – no luck. However I did see some juicy looking lamb shanks, so they became dinner.
- Juicy Lamb Shanks
- 500g Green Lentils (dry)
- 2 ~400g Tinned Tomato
- “Sufficient” Chicken Stock
- 1 Cup White Wine (Sav Blanc)
- Flour (just for coating lamb)
- 5 Anchovies
- 4 Generous Sprigs of Thyme
- 3 Sprigs of Sage
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 3 Red Onions
- 2 Sticks of Celery
- 2 tsp Chilli Powder
- 2-3rds cup of Peas (defrosted if using frozen ones)
- 100g Pancetta, thin sliced.
- 1 tbsp plain flour mixed into 3 tbsp water
- 1 Small Pumpkin (15cm diameter)
- 2 Small Kumara (10cm long)
- 6 Spring Onions
Coat the lamb shanks in flour and place in heated oil to brown, turning regularly; use a casserole large enough for the shanks to be fully covered with liquid Meanwhile slice up the celery, dice two of the onions, chop the spring onions and cut the pancetta into 1cm strips. When the lamb shanks are evenly browned put the onions, celery, pancetta and anchovies into the casserole and cook until the onion starts to caramelise. At this point throw in the chilli powder, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, thyme, sage and spring onions followed by the wine. Then tip in the two cans of chopped tomato and fill with stock until the lamb shanks are covered (if your shanks are as large as mine this will be quite a lot of stock!). Keep on high heat until the liquid starts to boil then reduce to a simmer and cover.
Meanwhile rinse the green lentils and put into boiling water for 10 minutes, scooping off any froth that forms. Once the ten minutes has elapsed tip into a strainer to drain.
After the lamb shanks have been simmering for 30 minutes add the lentils to the casserole, mix through and replace the lid.
Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds then cut into 1 inch bands. Cut the skin off the pumpkin bands then cut into pieces that are very roughly 1 inch cubed in volume. Peel the kumara and slice into pieces about half an inch thick. Cut the remaining onion into large pieces (half, half, thirds).
After the casserole has simmered for another 30 minutes add the kumara and onion pieces. Let simmer for another 15 minutes then add the peas and pumpkin pieces. After a further 15 minutes drizzle in the flour mix while stirring and continue to agitate as the liquid thickens a little – after about 5 minutes turn off the heat.
Move the shanks to appropriate bowls, then remove any remains of thyme and sage sprigs from the soup (just stems and attached leaves) and the bay leaves; you could also remove the cinnamon stick at this point too but I prefer to break it up a bit and mix it through the soup as it should easily be soft enough to chew (yum!). Generously spoon the soup mixture and vegetables over the lamb shanks. Garnish as desired and serve with a good glass of dry red wine!
You’ll probably have soup left over, this is great to store and eat later. As we have a really huge casserole and only did two quite large lamb shanks we had a lot of left over soup – we had eight servings worth left! There’s still four in the freezer. It should be fine frozen for quite a while (we’ll finish it off this week though).